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Allen scholarship winner wants to use journalism to change perceptions

Kara J. Brown discovered her love for writing when she won a high school essay contest.

Now, as a Binghamton University senior, she also recognizes that the written word has power.  Her goal as a journalist is to use that power to reshape perceptions, particularly of people of color and other marginalized populations.

“The media has the power to shape the way people think. From their view of the world to their view of themselves, everyone has at some point been swayed by something they saw in the media,” says the Buffalo native.

Brown is the 2017 recipient of the $1,000 Carl R. Allen Memorial Scholarship sponsored by the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists with support from The Buffalo News and the Newspaper Guild.

The award will be presented during a scholarship luncheon forum on “Journalism in the Age of Fake News: Is the News Still for You?” Les Trent, senior correspondent for Inside Edition and a former Buffalo reporter and weekend anchor, will be the keynote speaker.

The event will be from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and also will include a panel discussion and Q&A on “fake news.” Tickets are $35 and include lunch. They are available at Doris Records, Bus Stop Liquor or be calling 849-5598.

At Binghamton, Brown has been assistant editor for the arts and culture section of Pipe Dream, the student-run newspaper, and also has been student editor of Harpur Perspective, an on-campus magazine.

She enjoys writing feature stories that educate and inspire by shining a light on the accomplishments of others.

“We live in (such) a delightfully eclectic world that it is irresponsible for one to ignore the beauty found in diversity. Yet ignorance, discrimination and bigotry persist. The best way to convince someone of a truth isn’t by telling them – it’s by showing them,” she said in her scholarship essay.

Brown wants to use her journalistic skills as a writer and storyteller to paint those portraits, recognizing the unique perspective she brings as a female journalist of color. She also recognizes the ability of African-American journalists to tell stories that others might ignore – stories that help dispel stereotypes and provide more balanced media coverage.

She wants to combine that awareness with her fluid writing style to change the way her readers view the world around them.

“As a black woman, I possess a lens that is different from that of the average journalist,” Brown said. “The way I see the world and the way I feel the impact of certain events will inevitably shape the way I approach a story. I wish to use my unique perception and voice to paint a brighter, more colorful picture for the future and help unite a world divided.”

The scholarship named for Allen, a Buffalo News reporter who provided extensive coverage of the African-American community over a 20-year career before his death in 1999.

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